Buying a house, my definition of success at that time, was seemingly impossible with my personal income.
Having a roof over your head is arguably the biggest and most intentional purchase you can opt for in life, but even after the most consolidated efforts, my income was still too weak to get on the property ladder.
What did that say about my life? I was frustrated, I hated the limitation, I was stuck.
I wanted to do something radical, but not rash (I have made plenty of those decisions since leaving university). My friend’s father was a cabbie and briefly introduced me to this thing called “The Knowledge”. The main message I got was, work the hours I want, get the income required for a mortgage, bob’s your uncle.
In a society riddled with overnight results; quick finance, crash diet plans, Insta-famous. I sought a different path, the longer less glamorous route, with a drop out rate of 80% and an average 4 years of studying, I had begun the Knowledge.
I’d work Monday – Saturday, 9-6 at my full time retail job, I’d head straight to London straight from work, grabbing a petrol station sandwich for dinner, I’d get back at 1am most mornings, returning to work 8 hours later and repeat the process again.
The Knowledge was a marathon, it had no value until I was over the finish line. Once you’re in it, your time and space is condensed to studying, important dates in your calendar are replaced by the countdown to your next appearance (exam). A multitude of sacrifices have been essential in getting me to where I am today, some I’m proud of, others an arguably unhealthy sacrifice (relationships, health), that I can’t wait to get back on top of.
Aside from London, what did studying The Knowledge teach me about myself?
Life is filled with too many instant gratification pleasures; Facebook, TV, even food. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with these things (the latter of course being essential for living). It’s when we discard intentionality that we have a problem. I’ve learnt to be mindful, if something is too rich or pleasurable without much input, then I can be very certain that it is a detractor to my long term goals, I always question; “Does this short term action align with my long term goal?”
Don’t be afraid to go against the norm. I really mean this, I’d have friends and colleagues outright call me nuts for waking up at 2am/3am to drive round London. Break your goals down, is there a better way of achieving them? Change your recipe, what is stopping you from achieving your 5/10 year goal today?
Since leaving school I’ve taken so many paths to achieve, achieve what? Success? What is success? A degree? A high paying job? or being able to do what you enjoy? Don’t be afraid to let your definitions change over time*, I learnt that there’s no shame working the minimum wage or even for less if you are pursuing your true passion!
On 30th December 2014, I started The Knowledge at Manor House, no clue of my whereabouts or where I would be going. Just under 3 years later, I’ve got a coveted green badge around my neck driving one of the most iconic vehicles in the world.
The biggest benefit of my journey is being able to work on my terms, I am bound only to my allowance of time. Time is the most valuable commodity we possess. I want to question why we work, and why society is geared to a system whereby we work for the sake of, rather than questioning how much we truly need to work.
Follow your passion, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, build your own future or you’ll end up helping someone else build theirs.
This victory isn’t my destination, in fact if anything it has created a bigger catalyst to grow and expand. I can’t wait for the next journey, will keep you all updated on the direction I take.
For anyone embarking on a lengthy journey, I leave you with these two quotes that powered me through my daily drudgery.
“Do not be fearful of a goal because of the time it takes, the time will pass anyway.”
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
*My new found definition of success isn’t a house, in fact quite the opposite. My vision of success is to remove non-essential liabilities from my life. I don’t want to be bound to a payment for 30 years, finance on a car I don’t technically own. I want to allow myself the best platform to grow and I believe removing these kinds of ties will enable me to live the most intentional and “successful” life.